State Commission on Aging opposes sale of Citizens-Montevue

Frederick News Post
Louise Lynch
On behalf of the Maryland State Commission on Aging, I am writing to voice our concerns regarding the potential sale/privatization of the county-owned Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. We are particularly concerned about the future long-term severe and life-threatening consequences for the low-income elderly of Frederick County who need the care provided by Montevue. Therefore, in view of the severity of the impact on the rapidly growing senior population in Frederick County, the commission is asking the Board of County Commissioners the following questions:

Wrong on waste-to-energy details

Frederick News Post
Caroliine Eader
Harvey Alter continues to make it clear he’s not read any of the contracts pertaining to the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority’s proposed trash incinerator, which is to be located in Frederick (“Halloween Garbage”, May 12). And because of his lack of understanding he continues to write fiction. For example, it is not completely true when he writes the incinerator’s costs are to be covered by the tipping fee charged at the landfill. The tipping fees will be whatever the market can bear, and most likely the majority of the costs will be covered by the System Benefit Charge (SBC), which is a mandatory fee found on each and every property tax bill in the county.

Watching elected officials over Wal-Mart

Frederick News Post
Katherine Logan
Despite what you may hear, many of us are against the proposal of a new Wal-Mart at the old Frederick Towne Mall. There is a petition with over 1,500 signatures and yet the public outcry against this has gone unanswered by our elected officials. Instead, we are left with the consistent denial of the “elephant” in the room while city officials repeatedly say this isn’t about Wal-Mart. This is about Wal-Mart.

Opposes Wal-Mart based on business practices

Frederick News Post
Sandy Doggett
I am against another Wal-Mart in Frederick because the company has a history of shoddy practices. There are so many hidden costs to taxpayers to make their low prices possible. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest recipients of corporate welfare in the U.S. Due to low wages , many of their employees are forced to sign up for food stamps (SNAP), housing assistance, earned income tax credits and Medicaid or SCHIP for their children’s health. U.S. taxpayers are forced to support Wal-Mart workers. Their wages are so low that they can’t support their families with a living or just wage. I have a few questions for you to consider. Do you want a company that...

Thank goodness for David Gray

Frederick News Post
William Bugg
This is contrary to Mr. Young, who considers only his personal desires and the special interest groups that support his personal desires. Evidence supporting his one-sidedness are recent actions by Mr. Young in total disregard of the negative impact on current Monrovia residents in the huge overbuilding in Monrovia. Another example is his childish treatment of the Citizens Nursing Home and Montevue Assisted Living trustees because they do not support the sale of the homes but he does. Mr. Young wants to abolish the board of trustees. That would be a huge mistake. I hope there is standing room only at the June 25 public hearing at Frederick Community College to let Mr. Young know the error of his ways. We need more politicians like Commissioner Gray. It’s about time!

Praise for Citizens, Montevue

Frederick News Post
Barbara Spencer
As a nurse for over 20 years, I have been associated with Montevue Assisted Living and Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center for over 10 years. I started in 2002 as a “relief” charge nurse as I was completing my nurse practitioner studies. This was my first experience with assisted living facility or long-term care for the geriatric population. I was impressed with the way staff and residents interacted — there was a real sense of community. In 2005, I encountered Citizens as a nurse practitioner working for a Medicare advantage program. I was the primary care provider for up to 70 residents. Again, I was impressed. Staff of all departments — nursing, housekeeping, dietary, therapy — seemed to treat the residents as they would their own family members. In fact, staff treated each other as family or a good neighbor. I was impressed with the longevity of the staff. I felt the same sense of loyalty and community as I had at Montevue several years earlier. Although not an employee, I was treated as a member of the community.

Frederick Public will pay for incinerator

Frederick News Post
Matthew Seubert
Where will all this money come from? The county and the NEA claim it will come from electricity generated by burning trash, the sale of recovered metals and tip fees. Nearly all of the electricity generated is contractually pledged first to Wheelabrator to cover operating costs. Little, if any, will arc its way into county coffers. The real answer to the question is much simpler. The money will come from a tax on every property owner in the county in the form of a system benefit charge on our property tax bill, which can be increased by the county at will.

Citizens-Montevue chairwoman responds

Frederick News Post
Sonja Sperlich
I must take issue with Commissioner Blaine Young’s comments in the Wednesday, May 1 article, “Trustees: Montevue, Citizens need more time.” Commissioner Young is reported as saying that the Citizens Board of Trustees has “shied away from making tough decisions — such as cutting staff — that could put the facilities on stronger financial footing.” Allow me to set the record straight:

Citizens/Montevue: Then and now

Frederick News Post
Charles F. Trunk III
It is useful to remember that the Brunner family sold the property to the county when the county was looking to build a new and larger almshouse — a county home for the care of all displaced citizens of the time: orphans, widows, the disabled, the mentally ill and yes, the elderly with no place else to go. Mr. and Mrs. Brunner and the members of the Levy Court (today’s commissioners) knew that and wrote that purpose into the deed. From then on, such services have been provided continuously to this day. As other state and local providers for various human service needs were developed over the years, individuals were moved from care at Montevue, but services to the elderly remained. Has the county used the Montevue property for other purposes? Yes, it has, and every one of these functions serves the citizens of Frederick County every day. Never before has a board of commissioners attempted to sell a portion of the property to a private company. And, by the way, sell such prime road frontage for much less than its value. The residents of Frederick County need to know two important facts. The first is that the existence of Montevue as the only assisted living option available for poor senior citizens is tied directly to Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center being owned by Frederick County. There is no private business that can or will keep Montevue open to serve the poor. There is simply no profit to be made there. As soon as the last current resident dies, or is relocated or goes to the hospital, Montevue as we know it will cease to exist, ending a nearly 200-year history of service to the elderly poor of this county.

Democrats object to care-home privatization

Frederick News Post
Myrna Whitworth
We strongly object to the Board of County Commissioners’ rush to sell the Frederick County-owned Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living facilities. Here are the facts as we see them: In 1828, the Brunner family sold 94 acres to the county with the proviso that it be used for the benefit of the poor of Frederick County, in perpetuity. With that, they laid the foundation that enabled Frederick County to meet the needs of some of its poorest citizens. Generations of BoCCs of all stripes have built on that foundation; Montevue was established and maintained through good times and bad — the great depression, two world wars, budget surpluses and budget shortfalls — the county taxpayers willingly providing a subsidy to operate the facility. In 1975, Citizens, a skilled nursing facility, was added; then in 2009, ground was broken for new facilities.

Postpone planned privatization of Citizens and Montevue

Frederick News Post
Claire Kondig
The Frederick County League of Women Voters urges the Board of County Commissioners to postpone action on the proposed sale of the Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living. The league believes that the county commissioners need more time to carefully and fully evaluate other options to improve operations and reduce county funding. Why rush to sell a brand new facility whose board is in the midst of efforts to increase revenues and reduce operating costs? These two facilities represent an important safety net for our community's most vulnerable elderly citizens. Therefore, it is essential to take the time to examine the impact of selling the facilities on the citizens of Frederick County, both now and in the future.

MDE should deny WTE permits

Frederick News Post
Ellis Burruss
If the MDE grants the permits to build the proposed “waste-to-energy” trash incinerator in Frederick County it will result in the exposure of Frederick County citizens to a number of “hazardous air pollutants.” The permit application appendix table B-2 section B lists 111 tons of organic compounds, inorganic compounds, and metals that will be released into the atmosphere during each year of operation. This exposure risk raises questions: Will the MDE guarantee that no Frederick County resident will be adversely affected by the release of these hazardous air pollutants from the incinerator?

Young’s diatribe doesn’t represent Frederick County

Ysela Bravo-Schwetje
As a constituent of wonderful Frederick County, I am mortified at the behavior of our elected official, county Commissioner Blaine R. Young. I don’t agree with his politics, but I am always open to listening and hearing the other side. I want to be informed, even if the facts don’t align with my political beliefs.The headline, “Anti-growth whiners...” (The Gazette, Forum, March 21), should have tipped me off. In a 20-paragraph commentary, there are only seven that do not denigrate his constituents that disagree with him. He says his detractors “whine” and “complain,” are “malcontents,” “selfish,” and “live in fantasy world,” questions their motives and says they deal in lies. What else did I learn? Oh yes, that the school system is fine, and developers don’t need to pay into the system because there are no problems.
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Senior citizens will suffer if county sells assisted-living center

Diane Grove
I am both outraged and saddened to hear that the residents at Montevue are being referred to as “a drain on taxpayers.” As a native of Frederick County, taxpayer, and a current Frederick County employee, I couldn’t disagree more! These seniors are members of our community who, at one point in their lives, were taxpayers themselves. These so-called “drains” have been our friends, neighbors, co-workers, mailmen, nurses, doctors, and caregivers (just to name a few). They are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. They have spent their lives working hard raising their families and being productive citizens of what I used to consider a warm, caring farming community, a community that took pride in itself for taking care of its own. What has happened to us?

Ramifications of selling Montevue will hit its poorest residents

Frederick News Post
Diane Grove
I was dismayed to learn that the residents at the Montevue Assisted Living Facility are being referred to as “a drain on taxpayers.” As a Frederick County native, taxpayer and a Frederick County employee, I cannot disagree more. Those seniors are members of our community who at one point in their lives were taxpayers themselves. Those so-called “drains” have been our friends, neighbors, co-workers, mailmen, nurses, doctors and caregivers. They have raised families and been productive citizens of what I once considered a warm, caring farming community. What has happened to us? I refuse to believe our community would allow Montevue to be sold to the private sector. Montevue is part of our heritage. The land was sold to the county with the intent of helping the impoverished and for no other purpose. We should embrace this concept, not shy away from it. It is not true that the needs of the residents of Montevue will be met once sold to the private sector.

Once you burn them .

Frederick News Post
Jan Samet O'Leary
The current debate over the waste-to-energy incinerator is missing a crucial point: What we are calling “waste” actually contains vital natural resources. The fact is that our planetary resources are finite, and, in our inexorable rush to consume, we are in serious jeopardy of exhausting substances that are necessary to the health of the planet and to our survival as a species. Take phosphorus, for example. A critical ingredient in chemical fertilizers and in our own bodies, this element, at current usage rates, will be depleted in just 50 to 100 years. Similarly zinc, the fourth-most used metal in the world and essential for human growth, may also be gone within the next century. And there are many others. So what does this have to do with an incinerator in Frederick County?

No Better Off

Frederick News Post
Sally Sorbello
In response to the Feb. 26 article, “Incinerator faces numbers crunch,” I was struck by a quote from Commissioner Gray. Mr. Gray said that “We were not going to be a dumping ground for other people’s trash.” The reality is that the proposed 1,500-ton-per-day incinerator depends on Frederick to be a dumping ground for other people’s trash. Frederick and partner Carroll County together produce less than half the trash needed to supply the incinerator its minimum tonnage, so the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA) plans for Frederick to import up to 350,000 tons of trash and tires per year to achieve the contracted requirement to burn in excess of 500,000 tons annually.

Bad for the air

Frederick News Post
Austin Twigg
The American Lung Association gives Frederick County’s air quality an “F.” Believe it or not, Frederick’s air quality is significantly worse than Baltimore City. So what do our local legislators do? Led by Sen. David Brinkley, they write a letter in support of building a trash incinerator on Buckeystown Pike, just south of Westview Shopping Center, and within a couple of miles of 11 schools. The incinerator will be permitted to emit 10 million pounds of particulate matter per year, including mercury, lead and dioxin. These emissions are in very small particles that can lead to serious health problems and environmental damage as they accumulate and persist in the air, water, land and our bodies. In addition to worsening our air quality, Frederick County taxpayers will be responsible for the $500 million to construct the plant. Repayment is guaranteed by your system benefit charge on your property tax bill. Research the incinerator yourself and once you see what a bad deal it is, contact your local representative and tell them to terminate the contract.

Unconvinced by optimism of hotel report

Frederick News Post
Jack Lynch
Boondoggle. That's what it feels like when the mouths of our public officials in the City of Frederick anxiously spout the advantages and certainty of a downtown hotel complex. A second consultant's analysis was barely out of the boardroom, with next to no vetting or public comment, and they're talking about incentives like building parking decks and deferring risk. Government is supposed to be risk-averse. When officials defer risk for private concerns, the public tax coffers suffer, the projects often fail because they're not viable, and we're left holding a useless, unmarketable disaster.

Living in another financial reality

Frederick News Post
Sally Sorbello
The Frederick County Commissioners do not seem to understand the financial reality of the proposed Frederick/Carroll incinerator, since they claim that the NMWDA is on the hook for the bonds. That is like saying your mortgage banker is responsible for paying off the mortgage for your house. The NMWDA continues to mislead the public and our officials into thinking the incinerator is somehow a financial boon, that it will pay for itself. They mislead us because the incinerator means money in their pockets, to the tune of $500,000 a year at 3 percent markup, plus an ever-escalating membership fee (it is now $125,000 a year and will rise to $275,145 a year by fiscal 2015) for the next 30 years